Rough start to Big Ten play for Ohio State, Tate Martell shows off his wheels and more

Colin Gay

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know — Monday through Friday — around the world of Ohio State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

Today is Monday, Jan. 9, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 

Not so deep bench

History is not always good. In Ohio State’s 78-68 loss to Minnesota, coach Thad Matta, for the first time in his tenure at Ohio State, fell to 0-3 to start off conference play. The Buckeyes are 10-6 overall.

Part of the problem for the Buckeyes early on in conference play is the amount of minutes that the starters forced to play because the bench play has been so poor. In the loss to Minnesota (15-2, 2-1 in Big Ten), the starting five played 83.5 percent of the game. Forward Marc Loving and guard JaQuan Lyle each played 38 of the total 40 minutes of the game while forward Jae’Sean Tate played 35 minutes until he fouled out with 1:10 left in the game. 

The bench players are struggling. Playing only 33 minutes, the bench combined for only eight points, shooting just 27.2 percent from the field.

Point guard C.J. Jackson, after an impressive start to the season, struggled. In 17 minutes, Jackson had five points, shooting 25 percent from the floor and making only one 3-point shot on four attempts. He had four assists, his highest total since Dec. 20 against Youngstown State, and two rebounds.

Even though the Buckeyes came back to score 41 points in the second half, shooting 51.6 percent from the field, Ohio State could not come back from the 10-point deficit at halftime. A bench lacking guard Kam Williams, who moved to the starting lineup with the loss of forward Keita Bates-Diop, isn’t providing any relief for the starters at all. 

The bench has a chance to step up in a big way when Ohio State takes on No. 13 Wisconsin on Thursday, or the winless start to the Big Ten season will continue.

Catching Up

Here is your weekly look at how a few former Ohio State Buckeyes are doing at the next level.

Ryan Shazier: People could tell by his pregame workout that Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier meant business. In single-digit temperatures, Shazier warmed up shirtless in Pittsburgh.

In the Steelers’ 30-12 win over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC playoff game, the former Ohio State linebacker proved that he shouldn’t be messed with. He had six tackles, with a tackle for loss and two QB hits in the win.

However, Shazier really made a difference in the passing game. He intercepted Dolphins QB Matt Moore in the third quarter and put the Steelers in a very good position to score its final touchdown of the game. With an interception last week against the Washington Redskins, Shazier now has a career high four interceptions this season.

Shazier and the Steelers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round on Sunday.

Johnathan Hankins: Even though there wasn’t much for New York Giants fans to cheer for in the 38-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC playoff game, at least they got to see a former Ohio State defensive lineman get Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on the ground. Giants DT Johnathan Hankins sacked Rodgers on the Packers’ first drive of the second half that eventually led to a punt.

Including the sack, Hankins had three tackles in the loss. Overall, this was his fourth sack of the year and his first since Oct. 16 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Look at this kid

Sure there are plenty of players leaving Ohio State to go to the next level, but there is plenty of talent on the way as well in the Buckeyes’ 2017 recruiting class. As the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation according to, Ohio State fans will expect a lot from the newcomers coming in next season.

One of those newcomers that could make an impression is QB Tate Martell, the All-USA Offensive Player of the Year by USA Today. Ranked No. 125 in ESPN’s Top 300 recruits, Martell made a big impression at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. As a starter and a captain for the West team, the Las Vegas, Nev., native threw three completions on five attempts for 23 yards.

The part of Martell’s game that shined the most was his running ability. Martell had 38 rushing yards on seven carries. He also had an 18-yard touchdown run that left Ohio State fans excited.

With all of his accomplishments high school, the Buckeyes have to be excited for what Martell, an early enrollee, and his talents bring to the Ohio State football program.

What’s up with Marshon Lattimore?

There is one thing that is certain for Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore. As he continues to ponder whether he should stay at Ohio State for his junior season or declare for the 2017 NFL Draft, he is still a very entertaining Twitter follow.

As he did with the decisions of LB Raekwon McMillan, S Malik Hooker, and fellow CB Gareon Conley, Lattimore could not help but voice his opinion when WR Noah Brown declared for the draft and DL Tyquan Lewis decided to stay in Columbus.


With him being one of the last players still to decide, it seems like a Lattimore decision is coming soon.

B1G happenings